Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Safety Net

The subject of child safety has been on my mind lately. It started last week, after there was a multiple homicide in our comfy, homey little Chittenden County. A domestic dispute in the town of Essex left 2 women dead, one of which was shot in a school. A truely sad and senseless act of violence. On a sidenote, has anyone ever commited murder that was full of sense??
The next day as I left Baxter at daycare, I had an admitted illogical sense of fear for his welfare. What if someone barged into the center and started shooting?! I had to force myself to keep driving home, that he would be ok, that it was more likely that we would be in a car accident to witness daycare violence. Then tonight, my sister Danielle who lives with us asked if she could take Bax to the county fair. Seems perfectly fine and safe, Danielle is a fairly sharp person and lovingly cares for her nephew and niece when she's in charge. However, both Jennie and I had pangs of fear when we thought of Baxter without his parental protectors. Anyway, he went and was fine and had an absolute blast. As wet-behind-the-ears parents, we are still learning to trust others with our children and its hard. I remarked recently that I don't fully feel like the kids are safe unless I'm physically by their side. One could take this to mean that I don't trust anyone but myself. I tried to explain that I knew this was irrational but it didn't come off cleanly and I think I slightly insulted Jen. I think the moral of the story is that parents love their children with such a passion, we have a hard time understanding how we could live without them and that we need to have the complete control over their wellbeing. I should add that our direct family also loves our kids with similiar abnormal-ness and wouldn't let anything happen to them either. It helps my sanity to keep this in mind.
On a lighter note, Baxter had a rough allergy spell a few nights ago. He woke at midnight on Monday, which was the last night of a hellish call weekend for Jennie(& us). You see, his father forgot(what was I saying earlier about being the guardian of wellness/safety?) to give his dose of Zirtec for seasonal allergies, resulting in an itchy nose. After pushing the meds (that's doctor talk for "giving the medicine"), I knew it would take a while to kick in and thus, we were going to be up for an indeterminate amount of time. So I asked if he wanted to lay in mommy and daddy's bed (Jennie was absent this night). He said yes and while we made our way to the room he asked," Watch baseball?" Well, the Sox were on the west coast and the game was still on, so that's exactly what we did. I fell asleep for a few minutes and thought he would do the same. Except that when I woke and looked over, he was still watching the game. This was even more extraordinary because the Sox were (and still are) in the midst of a major losing streak. Thus, never let it be said that Bax is a fair-weather fan, he can watch the BoSox even when they are stinking up the joint. I think he was contemplating who Boston should keep for '07 and which players should be traded, he's got Theo on his toy phone speed dial.

We're off for the Lowell family traditional Labor Day blowout at Star Lake in the Adirondacks. Hope everyone has a safe and fun holiday weekend.

See you on the playground.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Big Boy Bed

At the risk of jinxing myself, Baxter has been successfully transitioned to a big bed boy in the past week. We did a little switcharoo with bedrooms, Danielle went into the guest room, Baxter into her old room and Paige into Baxter's old room, which is officially titled "the nursery". It was time to get Paige into a crib and out of our bedroom (yeah!) and after much hand-wringing and debates about who gets what furniture, etc., they are both sleeping in their own rooms.
If you've been reading along, we decided to go with the prisoner theme of twin matress on the floor for Bax. We contemplated using a frame with rails but he just seems too short to manuver a climb down in the morning without stumbling to a concussion. He's doing well and only needs a little time with one of us in bed before getting comfy enough to fall asleep on his own. Next up, potty time.
We had a nice visit last week from Jennie's great uncle Arthur from NJ. Baxter and Arthur got along like ham & eggs. Arthur has trouble hearing and seeing (he's 88) and Baxter can't read or speak clearly enough yet. The result: Baxter could bring books over to Arthur's lap and not be the least bit aware that Arthur couldn't read the book or hear/understand the gibberish that comes out of his mouth. I mean Baxter's mouth....
Funny story from last week. I went to donate blood (critical need, get in line people!) and as I was getting ready to leave (ie: grabbing free pizza, crackers, donuts, etc...) this nice lady went through this gracious, proclaimation to the guy leaving in front of me. She said, "Thank you so much for coming in today. I just want to let you know that by your act, you saved at least 1 and possibly 3 people's lives today."
He had a slightly puzzled look on his face and left the building. A coworker of this lady leaned over to her and said, "Mary, that was the pizza guy!"

See you on the playground!

Friday, August 04, 2006

true joys of (parent) life

I was witness to another stunning development a few nights back while putting Baxter to bed. The general routine for bed involves a few literary favorites (Big Tractor, Papa Get the Moon, etc..) a little gentle rocking accompanied by the Carly Simon classic "You're The Love of My Life", which in our family is titled, "The Avocado Song". Bax really loves this song, as his mom has been singing it to him since the early days. In fact, his 1st 4 word sentence was, "Daddy sing avocado song?" Mostly, he wants Mom to sing it but I've been practicing up so that I can pinch hit when Jennie is tired or at the hospital.
Anyway, I was well into the 2nd chorus when Baxter slid off my lap and toddled to his crib. I kept up the singing and rubbed his back for a few seconds when he sat up and put his hand over my mouth. Stunned, I looked at him for a second to see this little pensive face struggling with deep thought. Obviously, he had something to say and he was searching his limited but rapidly developing database of vocabulary for the right thing to see. I like to think he was trying to protect my fragile psyche and was struggling for the gentlest choice of words. So, after a few seconds, he decided what to do. He gave me his little wave, which in reality looks like he's turning a door knob and said cheerfully, "Bye!"
"Oh?! Uh, goodnight Bax. I love you."
He replied, "Goodnight. I wuh you." and plopped down on his bear and blanket pile.
I wasn't upset at all. Quite the opposite, it gave me a nice warm feeling and I chuckled to myself on the way out of his room. These are the moments that make parenting priceless, in my opinion. Not only was he polite, but he realized he was tired and wanted some peace and quiet so he could go to sleep.
Paige has been pretty spectacular too. She has fallen asleep a few times without the straight jacket treatment, which allows us to stare at her little feet (one of my favorite pastimes). She's becoming a champion nurser and her scrawny legs are starting to get puffy (ie: fat). Baxter seems to like her more, even if he still clobbers her with his affection.
I've reached the 2 month mark as a stay at home dad and while many days are tiring and challenging, I don't for one moment regret my choice. I look forward to the many more opportunities that Baxter and Paige will give me to rejoice in their wonderment.